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Russian nuclear icebreaker sails off to North Pole

August 13, 23:58 UTC+3 MURMANSK

The Arktika icebreaker under the command of captain Yuri Kuchiyev reached the North Pole by sea on August 17, 1977, for the first time in human history

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© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

MURMANSK, August 13. /TASS/. The 50 Let Pobedy (50th Anniversary of Victory) nuclear-powered icebreaker on Sunday sailed off from Russia’s northwestern port of Murmansk on a memorial voyage to the North Pole, repeating the Arktika (Arctic) icebreaker’s expedition of 1977, when a surface vessel reached the pole for the first time.

Taking part in the memorial voyage are about 100 people, with a number of members of the 1977 expedition among them, a TASS correspondent reported from the ship.

The Arktika icebreaker under the command of captain Yuri Kuchiyev reached the North Pole by sea on August 17, 1977, for the first time in human history. The 2017 expedition plans to reach the northernmost point also on August 17 to hoist a flag in memory of the North Pole pioneers.

During the expedition, the 50 Let Pobedy ship will host a conference dedicated to the future of the Arktika icebreaker, already decommissioned, environmental problems of the Arctic region, and the development of year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route.

"The key task of the conference is to try to understand whether it is economically worth to develop year-round navigation along the entire Norther Sea Route. It is task number one. And it will be discussed," the 2017 voyage leader, Director General of the nuclear fleet authority, Atomflot, Vyacheslav Ruksha told TASS.

He said he is sure Atomflot will be able to ensure year-round navigation along the entire Northern Sea Route in the near future whereas now navigation is possible only in Western Arctic. "Our veterans have mastered the Kara Sea and it has become obvious to everyone that nuclear-powered icebreakers are capable of ensuring stable, sustainable year-round navigation. Now, we are getting prepared and I think we will do it in the entire Arctic Ocean, along the entire Northern Sea Route in the next five to seven years," he said.

Among participants in the expedition onboard the 50 Let Pobedy icebreaker are lawmakers from both houses of the Russian parliament, the State Duma lower house and Federation upper house, representatives of the Rosaton state-run nuclear corporation, and polar explorers of various generations.

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